BURLINGTON — A Michigan man pleaded guilty Friday to making a threat over Facebook to “shoot up” Green Mountain Union High School in Chester in 2019.
In an announcement of the deal, the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont said court documents say Jason Graham, 24, of Holland, Mich., became engaged in a dispute on Facebook with a group of Vermont high school students in February 2019 and made threats via the social media platform to “shoot up the students’ school.” Then, as things escalated, Graham arranged for an associate to call the high school and say that he had placed a bomb inside the building and had sharpshooters outside the building.
More than half the school body was said to have not attended school in response to the threat and the bomb threat drew a massive law enforcement response, according to the announcement.
Prosecutors said at the time of the threats, Graham was under the supervision of state authorities in Michigan for prior felony convictions.
“Shortly after the threats were tracked to Graham, authorities in Michigan confronted Graham at his residence and found him unlawfully possessing a firearm,” prosecutors said. “Graham was then arrested and convicted of a Michigan firearm violation, and recently completed his minimum state term of incarceration for that conviction.”
The federal plea agreement calls for Graham to receive a prison sentence of no more than one year and one day. He will remain detained pending sentencing.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt thanked the Chester Police Department, the Vermont State Police, the Vermont Intelligence Center, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force for their investigation of the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eugenia A. P. Cowles and Michael P. Drescher are prosecuting the case. Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin represents Graham.